Double Pug Switch | Nintendo Switch Review
If you ever need proof in life that dogs are a far superior species than cat, look no further than in Double Pug Switch – available on PC, Playstation, XBox, Nintendo Switch, Apple, and Android Devices. This game was released 22nd October 2020 and was developed and published by aPriori Digital and ThePolygonLoft. For the purposes of this review, any gameplay referenced is from my Nintendo Switch Lite.
The premise of the game is simple – dogs are good, cats are evil. The story begins with a professor in her lab along with her pug, Otis, and cat, Whiskers. Otis looks like he had a few dog biscuits too many and both pup and professor fail to notice the mischievous cat, Whiskers, eyeing up two test-tubes containing portal fluid. Both Whiskers and Otis end up sucked through the portal into an alternate dimension. Otis is tasked with bringing Whiskers back home – Whiskers in the meantime has assumed the identity of Lord Sker and plans for world domination in a dimension where dogs do not exist.
The game provides you with an easy-to-follow tutorial, where you will learn the two controls you will need – jump and switching dimensions. As this game is a 2D Side-scrolling, auto-run platformer, these will be the only controls you will need to jump from platform to platform and avoid obstacles such as pillars and spikes. The longer you hold the jump button, the higher Otis jumps, but beware as this will need to be timed accurately. Some of the platforms and spikes which appear are from a parallel dimension, so you will need to switch dimensions (and pugs) to reach the platform or avoid an obstacle. This is because the journey through the portal left Otis in a destabilised quantum state, so there is another Otis in a parallel dimension. Your ultimate quest is to defeat the dastardly Lord Sker and scupper his plans for world domination. There are also other tokens around which will turn your pug tiny to get through low spaces, or one which will catapult you to a platform higher up.
With respect to the developers of this game, they want you to fail time and time again – and fail you will. I clocked up a total of 780 fails and I was only scratching the surface of the second dimension (shakes fist and yells at the level “Cacti Kinda Guy”). A lot of reasons for my failure were partly due to being a poorly skilled player, but there are also some negatives of the game itself to mention. As with auto-run games, your character tends to run at a generic speed, although some give you the option to delay the character somewhat before making a jump. There is no option to do this in Double Pug Switch with Otis set to one speed, and your timing determined by the gods. I found this made the game quite difficult as the slightest mistiming before a jump or holding down the A button too long will send you back to the start or to the nearest checkpoint. Speaking of checkpoints, I became incredibly frustrated when I reached a checkpoint-less level in the second dimension. My obstinacy not to let myself quit until I completed the level was the only reason I continued with this game past this level. While I understand that developers love to challenge the players, I feel that the lack of availability to adjust the difficulty levels is a setback and excludes a wide range of players who may have otherwise enjoyed this game. The only options are to play the game as quickly as possible, or to be the completionist and try to collect all the coins available – which is a different level of skill entirely.
On the other hand, the pluses in this game are also numerous. The pug first and foremost is adorable, yet I got to see his sad and disappointed face all too often as I butchered every level imaginable. The game is very easy to manoeuvre as you only need to know how to jump and switch dimensions, so there is no difficulty learning the controls – although I would rather have the two controls not so close to each other (jump is A and switching dimensions is B). It would make the gameplay a lot smoother if the controls were further separated. The option to map one of the controls to a trigger button for example would prevent accidents from hitting the wrong control. Timing, speed, and anticipation will all come with practice – in my case there was a lot of repetition from failing repeatedly. The music is also very quirky, which I generally enjoyed. It did become rather irritating after a while once you had to replay a level about 200 times, but I am sure that would not happen to you.
To add to the appeal, you have the option to dress up your little pug with various hats which are available for either gold or purple coins. The good thing with this is you do not need to have reached a certain dimension to get the hat of choice from that dimension – but obviously the more you play, the more chances to collect coins you get. The most expensive hats are available for 5 purple coins – such as the Professor Perm, where your pug will get the Albert Einstein treatment. You can purchase the generic hats for a range of different values in gold coins – which are lot easier to collect in levels than their purple counterparts.
If you enjoy a challenge and have a lot of patience, then Double Pug Switch would be the game for you. It is also reasonably priced so it will not burn a hole in your pocket. If, however, you are like me and have zero patience at all, then it may be wise to give this game a miss. That being said, it is a solid effort to produce a reasonably enjoyable game and again with it being available on portable devices such as the Switch, it is ideal for situations where you need to pass the time – just maybe not on a crowded train in case a few profanities slip out.
Double Pug Switch is currently on sale on the Playstation Store for £3.56 – 45% off until 18th June 2021.
Tina’s rating: 3 out of 5.